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Rising senior, Alexander May, (Alex) of Midlothian, VA has been chosen as the Phillips Family Leadership Incentive award winner for 2016. The leadership incentive award, endowed by Dr. Richard Phillips (’64, ’66 MS, ’70 PHD) and his wife, Mary is in its third year.  Alex, the fourth honoree, joins the prestigious group of previously recognized students, Patrick Leasure, Joe McDonald and Bobby Oglesby.

Working Hard

Industrious by nature, Alex is pursing a double major in paper science and chemical engineering along with a minor in business administrative.  He is an active member of TAPPI (currently serving as the President of the NCSU Chapter), Toastmasters International and the Reformed University Fellowship. Alex has supplemented his academic success with three work experiences including  RockTenn, Hopewell, VA; PCA, Valdosta, GA; and currently working with Neenah Paper in Brownville, NY.Alex May

Seeing the Bigger Picture

Alex has this to say about being selected as a Phillips Family Award winner, “I would like to thank Dr. and Mrs. Phillips and the Paper Science & Engineering program at NC State for this great opportunity to explore a subject that I am passionate about. Adding a business minor will give me a more comprehensive idea of basic business concepts such as accounting, marketing, and legal environments. These skills will complement my engineering abilities to help develop clear communication, innovative thinking, and success in accomplishing team goals.”

Making a Difference

The Phillips Family Leadership Incentive award is intended for juniors and seniors in the paper science and engineering program who will also obtain a minor in business.  “The easy part was to decide to give and how much,” says Phillips. “The hard part was to figure out what you can do to make a difference,” he adds.  Dr. Phillips retired from International Paper as a vice president and came to teach at NC State. Phillips developed a class that would become required for the curriculum – Strategic Business Analysis in the Pulp and Paper Industry. Phillips believes the addition of the business minor, combined with an engineering degree, will produce successful engineers and leaders for our industry.  “The students who are willing to put in the extra time are likely to be the students who will succeed,” he says. We agree!   The program, department, university and industry will all benefit from students and graduates participating in interdisciplinary efforts.


Dr. Richard Phillips (’64, ’66 MS, ’70 PHD); Photo courtesy of Marc Hall

By guest blogers Bobby Oglesby and Kable Young